History
Whenever a new Viceroy was named to New Spain or Perú, he was welcomed into the territory he would rule with entradas—pageants of accession. Such ceremonies were celebrated from the 16th century until Independence, about every ten years, depending on the Viceroy's competence or longevity. In Perú, Viceroys would make their way through a string of cities on their way to the viceregal seat of Lima. At each stop, the local government would sponsor an entrada, which might entail bullfights, fireworks, special masses, dances and public celebrations, as well as elaborate street decorations. This account was written by Antonio de Ulloa (1716–1795) a Spanish naval officer, who witnessed the entrada of José Antonio de Mendoza Caamaño y Sotomayor, Marqués de Villagarcía (in office 1736–1745). Ulloa, on a commission from the Spanish crown, presents a seamlessly positive account of how the king's representative was received.
Visual Culture
Antonio de Ulloa provides a vivid description an important ephemeral event in Spanish America that gave visible expression to royal power. The entrada was a wondrous spectacle and Ulloa is struck by the pomp of special costumes and street decorations, asños who flocked to see the festivities, political hierarchies were made clear: members of the Audiencia, the high court, rode on horseback, while lesser alcaldes ordinarios, or town councilmen, held the bridle of the Viceroy’s horse. Social distinctions were carefully enforced, as only the aristocracy entered the Viceregal palace. The final episode of the entrada, as the viceroy was welcomed by the archbishop at the doors of the church, was meant to convey a tight bond between political and religious officials, which was not always the case in reality.

See the 1718 entrada of a Viceroy in the Vistas Gallery.






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